Wrangell-St. Elias Backpacking July 2015

One of my favorite trips in Alaska. We ventured east to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for a five day backpacking trip across glaciers. This was my longest and heaviest trek yet and our first time out on a glacier. We decided to go with an outfitter for this trip since we weren't familiar with the terrain and had no glacier skills. 

Starting from the old copper mining town of Kennecott we hiked several glaciers and learned how to work with crampons. Trusting that those spikes would hold me and my pack down an icy slope took a lot of mental coaching. We managed to do what was normally a two day hike in one day. So we were able to spend two nights at one site, take a "rest day" to do a crazy hike out to see Goat Hair glacier. We could hear it calving but wasn't able to see any of the ice fall. Scott and I then broke off from the group to explore some of grassy hills and I ended up getting attacked by a nesting ptarmigan. 

Favorite things from this trip: 

1. Watching Scott jump into a glacial water pool. The weather was so awesome that the guys went for a dip in a pool on the glacier.

2. Sitting up on the moraine after dinner and listening to the glacier move slowly below. 

3. Learning new trail recipes from our guide Ethan as well as glacier crossing skills and route finding. Oh yeah ... and learning about cool gear to add to our arsenal - always dangerous.

4. Our awesome companions on the trail and good camp conversation

5. Being reminded of the vastness of this universe and how small we are in it. 


Lost Lake Backpacking

So wow ... we've not been around in a long time ... 

Because the Alaska summer is too short to be shooting weddings every weekend, Bear and Penguin Photography has slowly retired out of wedding photography. Instead, we get to have adventures of our own in our beautiful home and share them with all of you (when we remember to post.) Scott is currently in Japan so I'm trying to take advantage of absolute control over the laptop to get some photos edited and blogs posted...because I'm apparently terrible ... terribly busy enjoying other things not involving photo editing. 

How embarrassing ... these photos are from September 2016 when Scott's bro David and his amazing wife Nicole came up to AK for some backpacking. We hit up Lost Lake in the Chugach National Forest. As is *almost* always the case with Scott, we had beautiful weather. Looking back on it, the entirety of summer 2016 was gorgeous - this year, not as much. Also on our trip were Cascade and Nikki, our diehard canine hiking companions. 

We started from the Lost Lake Trail Road trailhead about 7 miles to the lakes. Lost Lake can also be a through hike of ~15 miles and some people do this as a trail race all the way through. With a blue bird sky, Resurrection Bay was gleaming behind us and we kept having to turn around to take in the sweeping views - almost makes you want to walk backwards but with a 40-50 lb pack and trail to follow this is generally not recommended. 

One of the cool things about backpacking in early fall is the ability to catch the Northern Lights if the conditions are right. We had looked up the Kp level prior to leaving and knew we had a chance of seeing something. So Scott and I set our alarm for around 2 or 3 am. We peered out of our tent in time to see the aurora borealis sweeping across the sky and reflecting off the lake.

One of the bad things about taking this long to *ahem* edit and blog photos is that the memory starts to fade. I just remembered why I don't have any photos after our first day. Unfortunately, my camera decided to freak out and my spin dials completely stopped communicating with my camera. So there weren't too many aurora shots that I could salvage in the end. Super happy that there were at least a few that I could save! I have a vague memory of either having to guess on my settings or being stuck in one setting but can't remember exactly what was wrong with my camera ... though I'm fairly certain my camera started working again when I got home. This was also a trip where Scott didn't carry his DSLR with him .... which reminds me of why we always bring at least three camera bodies with us to every wedding we shoot!!